USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

Maynard Cox BM2 on Whitehurst
Became the "Snake Man"

Maynard Cox 1958
in "civvies" but was BM2

Maynard Cox circa 2007
With his Book on Snakebite Treatment

Maynard's Obituary and Eulogy
From newspaper Clay Today, October 20, 2011

Maynard "Snake Man" Cox, grasping a
very large, live, Eastern Diamondback
Rattlesnake which he has just captured.

Clay's 'Snake Man' wrote the book on the topic
from newspaper, Clay Today, Oct. 20, 2011
Article by Debra W. Buehn, Correspondent

ORANGE PARK -- To those who knew him best, Maynard H. Cox, also known as "The Snake Man" was one amazing story after another.
     Cox, who passed away last week, has long been known as one of Clay County's most colorful characters.
     "To know Maynard was an adventure", said his longtime friend, Bill Shearin.
     In fact his whole life was one adventure after another.  From gaining worldwide recognition for his work with snakes and snakebites, to helping establish scuba search and rescue units throughout the Northeast Florida region, Cox's life reads like a novel.
     Cox passed away Oct. 13 at his Orange Park home due to complications from a rare disease known as myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder, his eldest son, Orange Park resident, Henry Maynard "Bud" Cox said.  Cox's official birthday is listed as Dec. 4, 1932, but his actual age is unclear because like the rest of his life, there is a story there.
     A descendent of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indian Tribe, Cox's father was Nez Perce and his mother was Cherokee.  He was born in a snowstorm on the Nez Perce reservation of Northwest Idaho.  But when he joined the Navy after the close of World War II, he had no records to prove his birthdates because they had been lost in a fire.  Although he had been told by his people that he was born in "the year of the great snow (1929-1930)" a Navy supervisor randomly assigned him the birthdates of Dec. 4, 1932, and it stuck.  Spending most of his youth split between the Nez Perce reservation and a smaller reservation in Washington state, Cox' interest in snakes first took hold when he was just a child, his son said.  He was bitten by what they think was a Western rattler.  They took him all over, but couldn't find any treatment.  He just got luck and survived, Cox said.
     That was the first of at least 300 snakebites he would survive as he ended up studying snakes and how to treat their poisonous bites.  His book, the Snakebite Protocol Book,  which prescribes aggressively pushing antivenin into a victim over cutting the wound open or applying a tourniquet, can be found in emergency rooms over the world, his son said.  He often received calls for help or advice from faraway places, but among those locally who say they are forever indebted to Cox for his work is Joan Peoples, owner of Clark's Fish Camp in Mandarin.
     After his son was bitten - in an artery - by a pigmy rattler in 1988 and doctors told him there was literally no hope, a family member recalled talking to Cox at the restaurant, but couldn't remember his name.  But Cox was so well known, the information operator knew instantly who they were talking about and they were able to reach Cox who came immediately, Peoples said.
"He absolutely saved my son's life", she said.
     Among his many other accomplishments dealing with snakes were a National Geographic special, hundreds of books, scores of lectures and appearances, many lives (and limbs) saved and the founding of the Worldwide Poison Bite Information Center.
     But snakes weren't all Cox was about.  He was very proud of his Navy Career as a diver in Underwater Demolition Teams -- the predecessor to Navy SEALS -- and his work diving and helping to establish scuba diving search and rescue teams throughout the area, his son said.    After his retirement from the Navy, Cox got his degree in clinical pathology and worked at the Florida State Prison at Starke as a clinical pathologist.  Eventually he went to work at NAS Jacksonville in the Safety Office, finally leaving for good in 2010.
     He had an abiding affection and respect for his Indian heritage, his son said, and passed those traditions on to his family.  In fact, a traditional Indian Ceremony was performed after his passing Bud Cox's wife Melody added.  "It was beautiful", she said.
     In addition to his son Bud and his wife, Cox is survived Gloria, his wife of 55 years; children Naomi Seeman (Terry)* of North Platte, Neb., Paula Pope of New Mexico, Walter Cox (Anna)*, Marlynne Wisniewski, and Phillip Cox, all of Orange Park; nine grand children and four great grand children.
*spouse names

Retyped from the Clay Today (Clay County, Florida) edition of Oct. 20, 2011
by Max Crow, Webmaster USS Whitehurst Assn.

Clay County Commissioners Proclaim Dec. 4 as
"The Original Snakeman Day".
Photo from "Clay Today" newspaper Dec 1, 2011

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